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Don’t wait for the business to set its strategy: Forrester

Forget about IT and business alignment. We can’t sit around waiting for the business to set strategy and then build an IT strategy for it.

That was the message from Sharyn Leaver, CIO practice leader at Forrester as she opened the analyst group’s European Forum in Barcelona. IT professionals “need to be out ahead of the business,” she said.

Forrester research among business leaders highlighted the scale of the challenge, with 35% of those surveyed saying they did not rely on IT to generate innovation and that 65% have budgets to buy IT without involving the IT function.

Forrester said company marketing departments were most likely to bypass the IT department, so analysts quizzed chief marketing officers about why they did so.

“They said they value speed over everything else and they believe IT doesn’t get it,” according to Leaver.

A second driver for bypassing the IT department was the proliferation of business ready self service technologies and the fact that business leaders are more tech savvy than ever before.

Leaver added that a survey of Gen Y staff found 64% said they downloaded unauthorised apps or used an external website to get their job done at least once a week. Of these, some 40% said do that they do this at least once a day.

Generation Y now make up less than 10% of workforce, but in ten years it will be half. “These people will truly topple IT status quo,” she said. Their view of what is required to do the job has changed – they are resourceful and go out and get it.”

IT, Leaver insisted, needed to reinvent itself to remain relevant.

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